The poet called her a Paradise, and I bought his word
I was astounded at her beauty, but immediately saddened by her worth
I looked at a man clad in uniform, dead face, and stiff arms with a rifle
Stern eyes that searched for nothing, besetting a place so stifled
The country calls him hero, he stands there unaware
As a stone that refuses to be moved, with only a memory to share
I look beyond him at the other man, the one whose freedom is lost
The freedom we talk so much about, the freedom that asked for a cost
His eyes are intimidated, his soul hates the man
The man is, after all, nothing but a murderer on their land
He has a family back home, some 2000 miles away
A family that is not sure if he will make it by the day
Yet he stands there cold, and I’m not sure if by choice
Being hated and wished dead, I hear in the other man’s voice
I decide to see who this man is, why does he feel the hatred
For a man who guards that land, the land the poet called sacred
So I see, a lover of freedom, and why shouldn’t he be?
If I have one life to live, shouldn’t freedom be free?
The man in uniform killed his brother, a day or two ago
Dragged him, shot him, left him. So says the down low
I ask the soldier if that is true, His tired eyes look down
“I took an oath to serve this country, and now they make me play around
His brother planned to threaten the peace of this nation I serve
I only put him where he should be, a place that he deserves”
I ask the other man, if he really understands this fight
But it’s only a face of his brother that comes into his sight
“What nation is this you talk of, soldier? Turning militant out of a man?
They deprived me of my freedom, and now killed my clan.”
I fail to comprehend this war, so I turn my back
I hear a gunshot and a cry, but vision I seem to lack
I don’t know who killed who, but I know a man is dead
I know the winds will wail, and I know the valley is red
I find myself laughing aloud, what poet was he so wise?
Who denied the lament in the air, and called this place a paradise.
Garima Siwach is an Economics Graduate from the University of Delhi. She is currently working with an organisation for agricultural and rural development in Uttar Pradesh. Garima describes herself as, “I have previously been a part of a couple of research projects in Mumbai. Culture curious at heart, I am an avid traveller and reader. My interests primarily lie in books, cameras, and bicycles. There are few places that have been able to inspire me immensely; Kashmir is one of them, Sikkim being the second.”